Planking, owling, batting – the holiday crazes to be avoided warns AXA

AXA, the UK’s largest travel insurer, is warning holidaymakers that insurance claims for injuries caused by dangerous new crazes will be turned down as the company sees an increase in incidents.

17 August 2011

Posted in Product

The company has already seen as many claims this summer as for the whole of last year for holidaymakers injuring themselves falling off balconies and other surfaces. AXA believes many of these are related to the rise of crazes such as owling, planking and batting where people take pictures of themselves in unusual positions and places and then post them on-line.

Often the incidents coincide with heavy drinking which in itself can negate a travel insurance claim. But the company also advises travellers that irresponsible behaviour, whether under the influence or not, will mean insurance claims may well be turned down.

AXA warns holidaymakers that accidents can end up costing hundreds of thousands of pounds once long term care, repatriation and hospital costs are taken into account. Repatriation can cost around £30,000 from Europe and up to £60,000 from the USA. And a daily hospital rate (before treatment) can run to £5000 in Europe and $15,000 in the USA. Of course, in the worst cases, these accidents can result in death.

Headshot of Roman Bryl, Underwriting Manager at AXA Travel Insurance

We don't want to stop anyone having fun on holiday but we are very concerned by the rise in 'accidents' reported to us this year.

We would urge all holidaymakers and their families to be aware of the dangers and potential consequences of taking part in these crazes - it's just not worth the risk in terms of both your health and finances.

Travel insurance is there to protect against accidents but it is not a catch all and holidaymakers have to act responsibly. AXA's policy, in line with others, states that it is up to holidaymakers to 'take all reasonable precautions to avoid injury'.

Roman Bryl, Underwriting Manager at AXA Travel Insurance

AXA statistics show that the majority of injuries and incidents that could be potentially related to these crazes occur among young adults.

  • Owling - taking pictures of yourself 'perched' in an unusual place
  • Planking - taking pictures of yourself lying down in an unusual place
  • Batting - taking pictures of yourself hanging upside down in an unusual place